My friend Sunny’s perfection levels are through the roof. She is someone I am in constant awe of-I will learn anything from her, and will eat anything she cooks!
Describing herself as a foodie, traveller and home cook, she’s more than just that. Sunny is practically a taste maker, an aesthete if you will.
TO: Tell us everything about you Sunny, how did this love of food come about?
SH: My mom was really influential in my upbringing. She was a chef/owner of several restaurants in Seoul and was really passionate about her work. And so I was brought up in an environment where everything revolved around food. Instead of taking math and swimming lessons like my friends, extra-curricular time was spent in those restaurants. While my friends were going on beach and ski holidays, mine were spent accompanying mom on food trade shows and “eating trips”.
Food wasn’t just a career though. It was literally at the centre of everything. Mealtimes at home were sacred, the highlights of each day. Special occasions and family gatherings were opportunities to celebrate seasonal produce. We didn’t have many storybooks at home, but we did have bookshelves full of recipes and cookbooks – so those became my bedtime stories.
I do sometimes ask mum why I never learnt to swim or ride the bike like other kids. But then again, I’m not sure if I would trade my childhood. Mum involved me in everything. And it was exhilarating.
I guess it’s no surprise that I now work in food and beverage. I have a consultancy practice, called Passion Project, which undertakes concept and recipe development work for restaurants, hotels and major food companies. I also work with my husband as the Creative Director of The Work Project (www.theworkproject.com), which is the largest premium co-working operator in Singapore, where I oversee hospitality and design.
I’m also a wife and mother of a 3-year old boy. And yes, I love to cook. I love to feed my two boys and I love to host gatherings. It is definitely one of my great pleasures in life. I share these moments, as well as recipes through my personal Instagram account on @sunnyskitchen in case you’d like to learn more.
TO: You don’t just cook food, a day in the life at Sunny’s kitchen is a production, you’re known to hand paint your dinner menus! Where did you learn the art of hosting so personally and “overdressed-ly” might I add?!
SH: I love hosting in style and making every moment very special and unique for my guests. I don’t necessarily think I learned it from anywhere, it just came to me naturally through experience! Since my dinner parties are in a home setting, I try to make the experience more personalized, doing things which my guests can never experience at a restaurant, such as making hand-painted menus, designing a tablecloth using vintage fabrics, picking flowers from the garden for the centerpieces, etc. These small gestures truly add uniqueness, making the setting extra personal, one-of-a-kind and beautifully “overdressed”!
TO: Your table settings are never pretentious they’re warm and inviting yet so rich, what are your favorite homeware brands and why?
SH: Thank you! I like to collect vintage plates for different occasions, and I purchase them through Etsy. Just type in “vintage French Limoges china” and you will find so many special gems!
Other specific homeware brands that I love are:
Marie Daâge and Laboratorio Paravicini- For luxe, beautifully hand-painted dinnerware.
Richard Ginori- For classic white porcelain that is so elegantly beautiful.
Carlo Moretti- For colorful Murano glasses that add accents to your table.
Sabre, Paris- For everyday casual flatware that are practical and chic.
Ercuis and Christofle- For over-the-top, luxurious silverware.
Julia B- For bespoke, hand embroidered linens for table, bed and bath.
TO: You look impeccable when you cook, what is important to you when you shop for clothes and what are your favorite brands?
SH: When I choose my outfit (specifically when I am cooking and hosting parties), I choose clothes that are light, airy and comfortable, so that it’s not too hot or bothersome with an extra layer of apron on top. One of my recent favorite is a French brand called, La Prestic Ouiston. They carry the most beautiful silk dresses and lounge wear with patterns that are so light and chic, meeting my standard of a perfectly dressy outfit to wear as a host.
TO: Finally, and this is something I struggle with, what to you is the best gift to bring to a small personal dinner for the hostess?
SH: As a gift, I like to bring some of my favorite specialty food products for the hostess. It can be a nice bottle of extra virgin olive oil, aged vinegars, gourmet salts, spices, honey or jams. I also like to make a small flower bouquet myself and give as a gift. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just pick some nice seasonal flowers from the market, assemble yourself and wrap with a piece of cellophane and a bow. It’s less costly, yet more personal and warm.